Adrienne Rich, a beloved feminist poet and essayist known for her political themes, died yesterday.
Her first poetry collection, "A Change of World," was written during her last year at a women's college. It won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, and is noted for its use of unpoetic language. After graduating, Rich married a Harvard economics professor. The couple had three children, and Rich claimed motherhood began to radicalize her work. Soon her traditional language evolved into free verse.
The twenty-year-old author of painstaking, decorous poems that are eager to 'maturely' accept the world they are given becomes a ... poet of prophetic intensity and 'visionary anger' bitterly unable to feel at home in a world 'that gives no room / to be what we dreamt of being.'
We asked out readers what their favorite Rich poems are, and amid the varying responses one piece stood out: "Diving into the Wreck", her most famous work which parallels the struggles of women with the exploration of a bleak sea.
A notable stanza reads:
This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he
What's your favorite Adrienne Rich poem? See below for what our readers said.